Letters: Golf must drive elitist cliques out of the game

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I was sad to read that Torphin Hill Golf Club is on the brink of collapse due to falling membership numbers (News, December 4). I have played this course in the past (and nearby Lothianburn) and it saddens me to see that so many golf clubs in Edinburgh and the Lothians are on the verge of shutting the doors for good.

But golf is reaping what it sowed many years ago. When I first started playing in 1984, I found that membership fees at private clubs were out of reach to most working people, coupled with waiting lists and joining fees on top of that.

I also found that many clubs operated restrictions on female and junior members, and that some club committees consisted of elitist cliques who were more interested in their own power bases than trying to promote the game of golf.

I managed to get into Carrick Knowe Golf Club, based at council-owned Carrick Knowe Golf Course, and spent 27 enjoyable years there. But even playing a council course is expensive these days – £21 per round on a Saturday, coupled with a fee of £20 for the hire of a buggy. In these recession-hit times I find such costs prohibitive.

If the game of golf is to survive in the modern age then it is going to have to drag itself into the 21st century – and quick.

David Smith, Ferrygait Place, Edinburgh

Darling needs to plug the credibility gap

FORMER Chancellor Alistair Darling claims that the Scottish independence White Paper does not add up.

This is really good coming from the very man who brought Britain close to being a banana republic while he was in office, leaving us billions in debt. I doubt if anybody gives his views credibility.

Is he the same Alistair Darling who was caught in the expenses scandal? He billed the taxpayer for two homes at the same time. He also bought a flat near the Oval cricket ground and claimed £6000 for furnishings and carpets.

J Hill, Stenhouse Avenue, Edinburgh

Cameron should have sorted fuel bill mess

DAVID Cameron said he would help people who are struggling to keep up with energy prices.

Can I just point out that if Mr Cameron was in any way fit to be Prime Minister, he would have dealt with this issue in 2010, in his first year in office.

Anyone with an ounce of savvy knew that our energy bills were a disgrace and had to be dealt with. The phrase “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted” comes to mind.

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar

The Nativity story is only an invention

J RAEBURN claims that Nativity plays “act out the true story of Christmas” and teach the “real meaning of it” (Letter, December 4).

In fact the birth narrative in the Gospels is well recognised by scholars as an invention designed to give Jesus an origin and background commensurate with his deification (all we know is that he came from Galilee).

There is no true story of Christmas and the Nativity story has no meaning.

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Woolly liberals are turning a blind eye

Clark Cross is so right to suggest we keep out of other countries wars and save our money and soldiers’ lives (Let countries sort out their own troubles, Letters, December 3) .

However, if only it was that simple. It is often only with hindsight we realise we could have done things very differently.

What I do know is that, like he says, we should keep out of the Middle East.

The difficulty is, if only they would do likewise and keep their influence out of our country as well.

We risk losing these same human rights we fought for such as women’s rights and the vote. What with “honour” killings, gender segregation on campuses, sharia law courts in the UK already, while the woolly liberals turn a selective blind eye, let’s keep our freedoms too.

R Oakley, Edinburgh

Flying the flag shows parents’ childishness

PASSING the Scottish Parliament on the day the Dear Leader’s White Paper on independence was launched, I saw the massed media tents and stages... and a small boy of about six, wrapped in a Union Flag running up and down being snapped by photographers desperately looking for an image to represent opposition to the independence movement.

What kind of cynical, brain-dead parent could allow their child to be used in this way to promote a political ideology?

It may be that a memory of that child misused to promote the Unionist cause may influence my vote in a year’s time – but not in the way the parents might have hoped.

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Salmond’s card needs a breath of fresh air

Alex Salmond’s charity Christmas card for 2013 was painted by Scottish artist Peter Howson (News, December 5).

It features a vest-clad man staring across a bleak and barren mountainous landscape.

Knowing of Mr Salmond’s obsession with wind turbines, I would have thought that he would have insisted on a few hundred being painted in to give the painting more realism.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow